Your optimum potential is that sweet spot which lies at the intersection of effectiveness, fulfillment and well-being where work and life are integrated in a state of ease and balance. It’s a distinction based on our individual capacity, values, goals and willingness.
It doesn’t mean that situations are never challenging. Quite the opposite, it’s the understanding that challenges inspire us to hone our focus, develop more resources and cultivate our resilience.
Most of us never take the time to reflect on how we can best add value to the world. Instead we think about what kind of job we want. We many never ask ourselves what gives our lives meaning. Instead we think about efficiency. We may not equate the state of our health with our state of our mind. Instead we look for quick fixes to physical symptoms.
I know that there never seems to be enough time in the day for reflection like this. Or is there? If we don’t set aside a few minutes each day to DECIDE what the quality of our work and life will be, then somebody else will. We will be at the effect of everyone else’s choices for us. This may work for only so long before the frustration of a daily routine of putting out fires rather than getting closer to our goals takes a great toll on us.
Here’s how to begin:
- Let’s start with capacity. Where ever you are in your life right now, in whatever type of job, this is the perfect place to begin this reflection. Think about what you like to do and what you are good at. Look for where you can integrate those abilities or qualities into your work right now. Even if they are not part of the typical “job description” of what you do, discover ways you can incorporate them. Be creative. Be original in your thinking about this. When you utilize what you have, instead of what you think is expected of you, not only do you stand apart from others but your work has more vitality to it. You will find an authentic way to be more effective at what you do with less stress by putting more of “you” into your work.
- Values: When was the last time you defined your values? Do you know what they are? Are you aware of how values influence your decisions and how stressful it is when you act in opposition to your values? This can be a real eye opener. Here’s a site that can help you uncover what is most meaningful to you.
- Goals: Once you have clarity on values, goals seem to fall into place. When you know what is important, you are better able to choose what to spend your energy and focus on. Think about what you’d like to achieve in several time compartments. (6 months, 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, etc)
- Willingness: This can be a tricky one. When you are clear on what your strengths are, what is important to you and what you’d like to accomplish, it’s time to check in on any obstacles that may be in the way. Think along the lines of outdated belief systems or thought patterns that don’t support what you want. Willingness is an inside-out perspective that begins with your mindset.
Take time to reflect on this. How could the few minutes spent today save you years of working and living below your optimum potential? Is it worth missing your sweet spot?